President Donald Trump has said he has no regrets about telling a group of predominantly US-born congresswomen to “go back” to the countries they came from - telling reporters on Monday that he believes they “hate America” and “I don’t know who’s going to miss them”.
“If you hate our country, if you’re not happy here, you can leave,” he said during the third-annual ‘Made in America’ product showcase outside of the White House.
“You can leave. You can leave right now. Come back if you want. Don’t come back, that’s OK too. But if you’re not happy, you can leave.”
His comments came one day after he appeared to attack prominent Democrat congresswomen - Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota - in a Twitter rant that questioned their patriotism and nationality.
He described them as “‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen” who “originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all)”.
“Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough,” he continued.
Trump on Monday noted that he “didn’t mention names” in his earlier tweet, though he went on to criticise Omar by name, saying she “hates Jews”, and “says horrible things about Israel”.
He went on to blame another of the politicians, apparently Ocasio-Cortez, for ruining New York City’s business deal with Amazon in February.
“It was a terrible thing she did,” Trump said of the efforts to keep Amazon from building a second headquarters in her district.
“These are people who hate our country,” he continued. “They hate it, I think with a passion. Now it’s possible I’m wrong, the voters will decide,” he said.
The president denied that his comments were racist.
He instead accused Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat Speaker of the House of Representatives, of making a racist statement when she twisted his campaign slogan from ‘Make America Great Again’ to ‘Make America White Again’ as she criticised his insult against the four women of colour.
“That’s a very racist statement. I’m surprised she’d say that,” Trump said.
Omar appeared to hit back at Trump moments later, vowing on Twitter to “stay in the ring” and represent those that Trump and his supporters are trying to silence.
“They are working to silence the voices of the people who see themselves represented in me. I will stay in the ring, fighting for what is right and will never back down in the face of these attacks,” Omar tweeted.